Morphometric variation in island and mainland populations of two lizard species from the Pacific Coast of Mexico
Rosas Pacheco,Luis F
BACKGROUND: Body size exerts a strong influence on the physiology, morphology, ecology, and evolution of other life history traits in vertebrates. We compared the morphometry and allometry of two lizard species (Anolis nebulosus and Aspidoscelis lineattissima) occurring on mainland and island populations on the Pacific Coast of Mexico in order to understand the effect of an insular environment on body size and other morphometric structures. RESULTS: Results showed that both males and females of A. nebulosus from San Pancho Island were larger in body size than those from the mainland. Moreover, males of A. lineattissima from Cocinas Island exhibited larger forms of most measured morphometric traits than those from the mainland, whereas females from both island and mainland populations did not differ in body size or in other morphometric traits analyzed. Multivariate allometric coefficients of males and females of A. nebulosus from island and mainland populations showed a lower percentage of positive allometries than in A. lineattissima, probably because the former species is highly sedentary. Island populations of both species exhibit male-biased sexual dimorphisms in body size and size-adjusted morphometric traits. In contrast to the mainland population, morphometric comparisons of body size-adjusted traits showed that male A. lineattissima were larger than females only in head length, head width, forearm length, and tibia length, whereas in A. nebulosus, sexual dimorphism was observed just in HL. CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the hypothesis (island rule) that vertebrates on islands are larger than those of conspecifics on the mainland. In addition, sexual dimorphism observed between males and females of both species and populations could be associated with allometric growth (positive or negative) from some morphometric structures, as well as differences in the growth rates of these organisms.